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CNN NEWSROOM

U.N. Sanctions Committee to Discuss North Korea Soon; Container Ship Stuck in Suez Canal; Coronavirus Pandemic; H&M and Nike are Facing Boycott in China; Crises in Myanmar; Crisis in Tigray; Critics Point Out Contradiction In Harry & Meghan's Tell-All; Democratic Law Makers Arrested As Georgia Governor Signs Sweeping Restrictions On Voting Into Law; Biden Slams Laws Aimed At Restricting Voting Access, Calling Them "Despicable" And "Un-American"; President Biden: No Idea If There Will Be A Republican Party In 2024; Five People Reported Killed As Tornado Touches Down In Alabama, Search & Rescue Operations Underway. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired March 26, 2021 - 02:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[02:00:00]

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): North Korea claims it tested new technology with its ballistic missile launches. The U.S. president is warning responses.

The frantic effort to free up that gigantic container ship stuck in Suez Canal. Experts say it could take weeks.

In Brazil, more than 100,000 new COVID cases reported in just one day. We will be speaking with a doctor in Brazil, who says the real numbers are likely even higher.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. Appreciate your company. I am Michael Holmes. This is "CNN Newsroom."

The U.N. Security Council Committee in charge of dealing with sanctions on North Korea will meet in a few hours from now. The U.S. requesting that meeting after North Korea made two different sets of missile launches in less than one week.

The first happened last weekend, but U.S. officials did not view it as a real provocation. And then on Thursday, the north fired a series of ballistic missiles, and for Washington, that changes everything.

Here is what President Biden had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: U.N. resolution 1718 was violated by those particular missiles that were tested, number one. We are consulting with our allies and partners, and there will be responses if they choose to escalate. We will respond accordingly. But, I am also prepared for some form of diplomacy. But, it has to be conditioned upon the end result of denuclearization.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES (on camera): CNN's Paula Hancocks joins me now live from Seoul. So Joe Biden, Paula, is saying that the test violated U.N. resolution. The U.S. responds accordingly. The question, of course, is what responses and will they be heard?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Michael, the responses that we have seen in the past have been increasing the pressure of sanctions, but sanctions are already fairly tight. So it is difficult to see what else they could add on to it. Of course, there are more sanctions to add, but what sort of impact that would have, I should say.

Bear in mind that North Korea has actually sanctioned itself more than anything that the international community could throw at it in the past year or so. With their COVID-19 restrictions, they have shut their borders off and prevented the vast majority of trade, even with its biggest trading partner, China, for fear of the virus getting into the country.

It is certainly difficult to see how they would be able to squeeze them when it comes to sanctions. And as we have seen for many, many years, North Korea is very capable and very willing to ignore sanctions as well as ignoring the U.N. Security Council resolution, which is what it did when it carried out this missile launch.

One interesting thing that we did here from that press conference as well with President Biden was he was asked, are we back to the point where when President Obama handed it over to President Trump? He said that North Korea is your biggest foreign policy issue when it comes to national security as well.

And President Biden said simply yes, which means that what North Korea has done is gone from being on the backburner to being one of the priority topics and issues that Washington is now looking into.

We've seen time and time again that North Korea is very good at making itself heard and making sure that it is not ignored. We were expecting some kind of weapons test or a launch given the fact there is a new U.S. administration and this certainly what Pyongyang often does.

But also, we have this North Korea policy review that is coming up very soon, as early as next week, we are hearing. This is months of review of the previous North Korean policy within Washington, within the Biden administration to see how they could push things further forward. But of course, the interesting point as well is that President Biden said he is still open for diplomacy. Michael?

HOLMES: Paula Hancocks in Seoul, good to see you. Thanks for that, Paula.

Now, that massive container ship blocking the Suez Canal is now posing a serious and costly threat to the global economy. Oil markets are rattled as dozens of tankers carrying millions of barrels of crude are waiting to pass through. Nearly a third of the world shipping container volume passes through that canal every day. Now, it is at a standstill.

[02:04:57]

HOLMES: And efforts to free the ship are moving slowly with experts predicting it could take days or even weeks to complete.

CNN's John Defterios is tracking developments for us from Abu Dhabi. John, are we getting a clearer idea of just what needs to be done to get the Ever Given out of the Suez Canal?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN ANCHOR AND EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR (on camera): Yeah, it's a heck of a story, Michael. Sometimes, we have the Suez Canal authority kind of shocking us with the task at hand. They put out a statement out late last night saying that they need to dig up 20,000 cubic meters of sand and mud around the Ever Given to give it a chance to re-float. The idea is to go to 12 meters to 16 meters deep. They did not set a timeline.

Shipping sources also suggested, and this is the chief executive officer here in the region that has tankers going through the Suez Canal at the same time, says a unique opportunity here between Sunday and Monday, a seasonal high tide that could also assist in that effort. So, do we get lucky or not? But we do know the pressure on the industry today. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

DEFTERIOS: A traffic jam like no other in the world of trade. At least 160 ships are waiting to transit through the Suez Canal after efforts to dislodge the giant vessel wedged across it failed. Attempts were made to free the 224,000 ton Ever Given using eight tug boats and dredging the surrounding mud and sand. But so far, the vessel won't budge.

Canal authorities suspended traffic through the vital waterway Thursday when it became clear the rescue plan wasn't going to be quick or easy. A team of Dutch and Japanese salvage experts who drafted in to help expressed caution over the time it could take.

PETER BERDOWSKI, BOSKALIS CEO (through translator): It can be days to weeks depending on what you come across. You have to realize that the equipment you need is, of course, not necessarily around the corner.

DEFTERIOS: Around 12 percent of the world trade volume passes through the canal normally and it usually handles the equivalent of $10 billion a day in cargo. Industry experts are concerned if the situation is not resolved soon, there could be a big impact on the oil market. Shipping and container rates leading to arise in the cost of goods we all depend on.

The Ever Given first became stuck on Tuesday after being caught in high winds and a ferocious sandstorm which caused low visibility and poor navigation. Its owner, Japanese shipping company Shoei Kisen Kaisha, is bracing itself for lawsuits from affected parties, but says their main focus at this critical juncture is to re-floating the ship.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

HOLMES (on camera): And so John, I mean, how likely is it that we will see some sort of, you know, big, profound shift in the global shipping market? Also, the old market, if a solution is not found pretty quickly?

DEFTERIOS: Yeah. You know, we are actually in day four of this debacle, Michael. The sources I've been speaking to overnight were suggesting, if you get to Sunday and Monday after the seasonal tide rise and you don't have a solution, the mindset will change really quickly. So on shipping rates, container cost, oil prices, we had it kind of lower yesterday, oil prices went lower, but I see they're back up to one and a half percent, depending on the benchmark right now.

At the same time, it is quite extraordinary here. We have the two major contractors down there. Smit is the Dutch group. We have the Japanese group Nippon coming into place. Look at it as the big guns coming in, right, to try to rescue the day, but they were suggesting the equipment is not around the corner. How fast can they move on the numbers that the Suez Canal authority is talking about? This is what is going to be crucial.

HOLMES (on camera): The shows will happen. A lot of eggs in one basket. John Defterios in Abu Dhabi, appreciate it. Thank you.

European Union leaders fed up with the sluggish vaccine rollout are set to meet again in a few hours to discuss restricting vaccine exports. The block has been warning that it might ban vaccine makers, including drug giant AstraZeneca, from shipping doses abroad until they make good on their local commitments. The E.U. Commission president says Europeans must get their fair share.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: Companies have to honor their contract to the European Union before they export to other regions in the world. This is, of course, the case with AstraZeneca. I think it is clear for the company that, first of all, the company has to catch up, has to honor the contracts it has with the European member states before it can engage again in exporting -- in exporting vaccines.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES (on camera): We would show you the great disparity between the numbers of people vaccinated in the U.K., which is there in yellow on that graph versus the E.U. in red.

[02:10:03]

HOLMES: The European bloc has sent 77 million doses to the U.K. and many other countries and administered only 62 million shots.

Meanwhile, this could be Brazil's worst week of the entire pandemic. On Thursday, it reported more than 100,000 new COVID infections, which is a record. It brings Brazil's overall tally to more than 12.3 million. That is the second highest in the world after the U.S.

Meanwhile, Brazil's association of private hospitals says it only has enough anaesthetics to treat COVID for the next few days. The worsening situation is being blamed on supply shortages, lack of vaccines, and the government's failure to impose consistent restrictions.

Dr. Miguel Nicolelis joins me now from Sao Paulo. He is a professor of neurobiology at Duke University but has been in Brazil throughout this pandemic. Good to see you, and doctor, another case record on Thursday. The last time we spoke nearly three weeks ago, you said Brazil was seeing -- quote -- "the largest human crisis in Brazilian history." Has anything meaningfully changed since then?

MIGUEL NICOLELIS, PROFESSOR OF NEUROBIOLOGY, DUKE UNIVERSITY: Well, if anything, it has only gotten worse, unfortunately. We are seeing what you just mentioned right now. Tonight, we have found out that not every single case has been reported in the official numbers.

In fact, a number of deaths today is probably much higher because of a problem in the ministry of health notification system. So, we crossed 100,000 cases and very likely, tomorrow, we may have a record in the number of deaths in Brazil.

HOLMES: That is incredibly worrying, especially the misreporting of numbers. I mean, what then overall is the state of the country's health infrastructure today? I mean, ICUs were at breaking point the last time we spoke.

NICOLELIS: Yeah, last time we spoke, we had already reached collapse level in the hospital and the health system. But now, the collapse is evolving very quickly for a tremendous nationwide shortage of basic medicines, you know, drugs that you need to use in the ICUs to intubate patients, to sedate patients, to get them relaxed.

So we are seeing the national supply of these medicines basically running down to about a week or 10 days right now. This has been -- it never happened in Brazilian history. I can tell you for sure about that. But the alarm was given to the entire country on Monday that we may have supplies for seven to 10 days.

HOLMES: Wow. The other thing you mentioned last time, you know, part of the problem is that has been so political and not in a good way. You said last time that President Bolsonaro was culpable, responsible for many of the deaths in Brazil through his own actions. Since then, there has been a new health minister put in place. The government is forming a new COVID crisis committee. Will those things make a difference in terms of the urgent needs?

NICOLELIS: Unfortunately, it does not look like because all these actions that took place this week seemed to be leading to the same source of the problem, which is that the president is not going to relinquish the control either of the new minister of health nor the committee that he just has put his in place.

To give you an idea of how strange this committee is, he did not even call for any kind of scientific advisory board to join the committee. So, we are all asking ourselves, how can you run the national task force without scientists taking their places in this committee? So I suspect that using good American language, this is all phony.

HOLMES: Okay, then so, you know, you have been throughout -- as I said, you've been raising the alarm throughout. What has to happen to turn this around? Because what happens in Brazil is a tragedy, but also, what happens in Brazil could impact the rest of the world in terms of spreading the variants.

NICOLELIS: Oh, absolutely. We have just realized that in the (INAUDIBLE) foundation, a group of scientists at the (INAUDIBLE) Foundation, has already discovered other variants that have emerged in Brazil, in addition to the P1 variant. This was announced this week. So, it's obvious to me and to all scientists in Brazil that Brazil has become an international threat at this moment.

So we need, of course, a national lockdown. We need to basically disrupt the flow of people through the roads and air space. We need to increase the vaccination campaign about tenfold.

[02:15:04]

NICOLELIS: You know, we had days in which only 200,000 Brazilians were vaccinated in 24 hours. We need to reach this -- to increase this number all the way to about two to three million, which can be done. Brazil has done that easily several times in the past decade. But we don't have enough vaccines.

With the replacement of the previous minister of health who was totally incompetent, we now have no information whatsoever what is going to happen in terms of procuring new vaccines because Brazil needs now tens and millions of doses.

HOLMES: A dire situation, as you have been warning for months and months now. We're going to leave it there. Dr. Miguel Nicolelis, thank you so much. We really appreciate the work you are doing.

NICOLELIS: Thank you. I appreciate the invitation. Thank you.

HOLMES: We are going to take a quick break. When we come back, H&M and Nike are facing boycotts in China. Coming up, we will explain the serious allegations they made that led to this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES (on camera): And Israel's final election results are in. And even though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came out on top, he faces an uphill battle to form a new government. Sounds familiar? Mr. Netanyahu's right-wing Likud Party won 30 seats in the committee. His closest challenger, Yair Lapid's party, won 17.

Now, that means the prime minister needs to get support from other parties to stay in power, perhaps quite a few of them. He might strike a deal with the United Arab List but that could alienate extreme right-wing religious parties. Any deal making comes against the backdrop, of course, of Mr. Netanyahu's corruption trial. He has pled not guilty to bribery and fraud charges. The court will begin hearing evidence in the next phase of the trial beginning April 5th.

Now, a number of western apparel brands are facing a boycott in China. This coming after big names such as H&M and Nike said they were concerned about allegations that forced labor has been used to produce cotton in Xinjiang. They are now facing heavy criticism on Chinese social media, adding fuel to the fire, the recent sanctions from the U.S., the U.K. and E.U.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUA CHUNYING, FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): Allegation of forced labor in Xinjiang is malicious lies fabricated by anti-China forces to smear China, undermining Xinjiang's security and stability and containing China's development.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES (on camera): Kristie Lu Stout joins me now from Hong Kong to talk more about this. This is a huge western brand backlash.

[02:20:00]

HOLMES: But what you are saying prompted by one social media post.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yeah, it's interesting. You know, this all started when the Communist Youth League, this is an organization that is linked to the ruling Chinese Communist Party, dug up an old statement by H&M in which H&M expressed deep concern over these reports of alleged forced labor being used in the production of cotton in Xinjiang.

Now, when this was re-posted, it went viral and it unleashed a torrent of anger directed at H&M in China along with an all viral hashtag, I support Xinjiang cotton, which has been seen at this hour well over four to half billion times, billion, in China. This is massive.

As you can imagine, H&M, the world's second largest clothing retailer, the sweetest multinational has been hit hard. It has been deplatformed from e-commerce sites in China, including those run by Alibaba. There are reports that it has been scrubbed off of online maps in China and services in China. Celebrities have cut ties with the firm as well as other big western brands like Adidas, Nike, etc.

I want you to listen to these Chinese consumers in Beijing expressing their anger and their support for this boycott.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNKNOWN (through translator): We should boycott them and let them know that China is not a country to be trifled with.

UNKNOWN (through translator): I will resist any brand that has any bad comments about our motherland.

UNKNOWN (through translator): This is our country. They should get out of China. We can choose not to use it. Not to wear it. It is just not necessary for us. I think you should respect our country. They will not have a future here if they try to smear China.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LU STOUT (on camera): Xinjiang has, of course, has been a major point of friction between China and western powers. It was back in December when the U.S. government announced that it would block all imports of cotton from Xinjiang over forced labor concerns.

In the past week, we've heard officials in the U.S., U.K. the E.U., they slapped sanctions on Chinese officials for undermining human rights in Xinjiang and China has retaliated with retaliatory sanctions announced not only against E.U. individuals and entities but U.K. individuals and entities as well, accusing them of -- quote -- "maliciously spreading lies and disinformation." Michael?

HOLMES: Yeah, with no evidence to back that up. You are saying earlier that some brands are actually benefiting from this backlash.

LU STOUT: Yeah, it's turned into a moment for Chinese consumers to rally around domestic brands, domestic brands instead of Nike and Adidas like (INAUDIBLE). In fact, shares in these companies have surged in recent days because of the online fury and this boycott against these big western brands.

But Chinese consumers have also been offering praise to a surgeon retailer, Japanese retailer Muji that continues to use Xinjiang cotton. One Chinese medicine praised Muji, saying, they have good -- quote -- "survival instincts" -- unquote. Michael?

HOLMES (on camera): All right. Kristie, thanks. Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong there.

At least nine people were killed by Myanmar's military during pro- democracy protest on Thursday. That's according to a local advocacy group. It says at least 320 people have been killed since the last month's coup. Now, the U.S. and U.K. are targeting some of the Junta's biggest income sources, denouncing sanctions on two of the holding companies controlled by Myanmar's military.

As the violence in Myanmar intensifies, we are learning more about the heartbreaking losses people are enduring. The youngest known victim of military violence was just a 6-year-old girl. CNN spoke with her grieving family. Here is Paula Hancocks.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Khin Myo Chit was six years old, shot dead by Myanmar's security forces as she was in her father's arms, laid to rest Wednesday. Her father relives the moment she died. The family has asked us to hide their identities for fear of retribution from the military.

He says they entered the house by breaking the doors down, which we have blocked with bicycles. They asked has anyone else in the house and fired a gunshot while saying don't lie to us, old man. They shot her as she leaned towards my chest. I ran carrying her and could not even look at them.

He took her to the local emergency clinic, but the doctors said it was already too late. We are hiding his identity as he fears repercussions from the military.

The oldest I've seen killed so far is 58 years old, he tells me. The youngest until now was 13. They are now shooting randomly in neighborhoods. It's not even safe at home behind a locked door.

The family tells us they had difficulty burying Khin Myo Chit, according to the Muslim tradition, of cleaning her body and burying her as soon as possible.

[02:25:06]

HANCOCKS (voice-over): They said they did not tell anyone, in case the military tried to take her body. It is a fear we have heard from several doctors and bereaved families.

When we got to the cemetery, her sister says, a few people were there so we had to hide her body. We had to wait until they were gone and only when no one was around could we bury her.

The family is now in hiding, saying they heard police are waiting at their home, fearing the brother was also arrested. They fear for his safety. The military has not responded to our request for comment.

Why did they have to shoot her dead? Her sister asked. What sin had she committed? What sin have we committed? What can a child do?

Khin Myo Chit's death has come as a shock, even in the midst of a relentless stream of deaths and arrests in Myanmar.

MARC RUBIN, REGIONAL EMERGENCY ADVISER, UNICEF: The youngest child to have been killed and was shot even more -- she was killed in her own home. She was sitting on the lap of her father which means there is no safe place anymore for children.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Khin Myo Chit is gone, her older brother arrested, her entire family too scared to go home, one family's tragedy in Myanmar that still has an uncertain ending.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

HOLMES (on camera): And now to the crisis in Ethiopia's Tigray region. The country's prime minister just announcing that Eritrea has agreed to withdraw its troops. He says the forces crossed the border after Tigrayan rebels launched attacks in November, but Eritreans have since faced allegations of abuses. Earlier, the U.N. announced teaming up with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission to investigate reports of human rights violations in the Tigray region. Allegations of horrific attacks against women will be a primary focus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WAFFA SAEED, U.N. DEPUTY HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR FOR ETHIOPIA: To give you facts, mid-March, five medical facilities (INAUDIBLE) recorded around 516 rape cases. Given the fact that most house facilities are not functioning and also the stigma associated with rape, it is projected that actual numbers are much higher.

Women say they have been raped by armed actors. They also told stories of gang rapes, raping in front of family members, and men being forced to rape their own family members under the threat of violence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES (voice-over): Ethiopia has vowed to prosecute those responsible. Now, the fighting in Tigray broke out in November, killing thousands of people. Hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes, many of them fleeing to neighboring Sudan. The U.N. says four and a half million people in the region need emergency food assistance.

Quick break here on the program. When we come back, trouble in the Suez. Why engineers are having such a hard time freeing that standard ship, blocking the canal, threatening global trade. We will discuss when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN HOST: Welcome back. It could take weeks to refloat that massive cargo ship blocking the Suez Canal and open the vital waterway to normal traffic. More than 200 other vessels including container ships and oil tankers are literally backed up in the canal or camp into the canal.

And all of that threatens to disrupt global trade it already is really dredges or removing sand and mud from around the ship which one expert compares to a beached whale pretty big whale. It got stuck on Tuesday navigating through high winds and a sandstorm.

Joining me now via Skype from Oxnard California Captain Jim Staples with Ocean River Maritime Consultants, Captain good to see you. I mean what a traffic jam? The ship is, almost as long as the Empire State Building is tall for people to get a sense of are bigger it is. Just how difficult is an operation like this from a technical point of view?

CAPTAIN JAMES STAPLES, AFNI. MARITIME CONSULTANT OCEANRIVER LLC: Well, actually is probably the first time they've had a vessel this size go aground in the canal, or noticed a - is not the ditch. And this is going to be a very difficult situation, depending on how hot the ground she is?

Probably about 20 to 30 percent of that vessel is aground on either end of the vessel. So we have the senate of the vessel, which is probably still floating, but on the ends of the vessel she's hard aground. So that's going to make it very difficult because of stresses being put on the ship at the time right now.

They're going to have to be very; very careful on how they remove any product, whether its ballast, the royal or cargo offs that vessel? They've got a very difficult situation ahead of them what they're looking at.

HOLMES: Yes, that that is a good point. When you say stresses, you mean stresses on the actual structure of the ship because it is aground?

STAPLES: Yes, absolutely. She's - she could be twisted, she could be racked. The boy is he isn't what it should be as she's floating in the river by it's in the canal by itself; she's aground on either end. So if you can imagine, you know, a piece of wood that's on both ends is on solid ground and then the in the center of it. There's nothing there with all that weight pushing down on that vessel.

You're going to have a lot of stress. That could cause cracking; it can cause all sorts of damage to the vessel.

HOLMES: Yes, good point.

[02:35:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOMES: Welcome back to all our viewers around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. You're watching CNN Newsroom and thanks for doing so. Russia an opposition leader in prison inmate Alexey Navalny says he's been denied medical care by prison officials.

Navalny posting documents on social media claiming his physical health has worsened and he has trouble walking. He also alleges, "Torture by sleep deprivation". But Russia's prison service claims Navalny received a full medical examination and is in their view in generally good health.

Weeks after the CBS interview with Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex critics are pointing out in consistencies in their story. Max Foster takes a closer look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Whether or not your team Sussex is hard to argue against the profound issues raised by the Oprah Winfrey interview, especially around suicide prevention and confronting racism wherever it may live. But critics of the couple are pointing to in consistencies in the tell-all interview, starting with their choice of platform. A major U.S. network with the most established interviewer on the planet when they previously pledged to engage with Grassroots Media Organizations and young up and coming journalists then there was this line.

MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: No, I've never looked at my husband online.

FOSTER (voice over): Twitter blew up with genuine disbelief especially in light of what former best friend - told "The Daily Mail". She was always fascinated by the Royal Family. She wants to be Princess Diana 2.0.

OPRAH WINFREY, AMERICAN HOST: But you were certainly aware of the Royals?

MARKLE: Of course.

FOSTER (voice over): And what about critics claim that Meghan lied about when they were married?

MARKLE: You know, three days before our wedding we got married. No one knows that the vows that we have framed in our room are just the two of us in our backyard with Archbishop of Canterbury.

FOSTER (voice over): The son getting hold of a copy of the marriage license showing the legally binding wedding was in the church not the backyard. A spokesperson clarified the couple exchange personal vows a few days before their official slash legal wedding on May the 19th.

The couple unknown for their distrust in the tabloid media, and they voice their frustration with how the Palace tries to appease certain titles.

[02:40:00]

MARKLE: I think there's a reason that these tabloids have holiday parties at the Palace. They're hosted by the Palace. The tabloids are. You know there is a construct that's at play there.

FOSTER (voice over): But tabloids reporters say they have no memory of such parties. Russell Meyers, Royal Editor at "The Daily Mirror" tweeting, Meghan has just claimed Buckingham Palace through holiday parties for the UK tabloids and now I'm wondering why I never got a ticket.

WINFREY: Were you silent? Or were you silenced?

FOSTER (voice over): Oprah's question here has been a subject of countless memes. But the answer has been deconstructed too.

MARKLE: I've advocated for so long for women to use their voice. And then I was silent.

FOSTER (voice over): Is that true? Palace insiders will point to many occasions that show that Meghan was allowed to voice they say, particularly on feminist issues.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now in the - that we're saying, with so many campaigns in "Metoo, and Time's up. There is no better time than to really continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered, and people really helping to support them.

FOSTER (voice over): Insiders will also tell you they showed full support in Meghan, a junior member of her staff whose now let the Palace told CNN, they've bent over backwards as far as I could see. I think there were complete hospitality and kindness and grace.

Everyone wanted to make it a success. A current Royal source added the Queen senior team was directly to avail themselves to ensure she had all the support needed.

MARKLE: Unlike what you see in the movies, there's no class on how to speak? How to cross your legs? How to be Royal? There's none of that trend that might exist for other members of the family that was not - that was offered.

FOSTER (voice over): But CNN has been told the Queen dispatched her closest aides to Kensington Palace, lady-in-waiting, Lady Susan Hussey and Dresser Angela Kelly, to offer advice, guidance and tutelage to the Duchess.

Royal aides say this was an unprecedented gesture of support for a new member of the family, and that every department of the Queen's household was open to Meghan. Then there's the question of titles.

MARKLE: They were saying they didn't want him to be a Prince or Princess not knowing what the gender would be, which would be different from protocol.

FOSTER (voice over): The protocol that Duchess referred to was issued by King George V and it limits princely titles to children and grandchildren of the serving monarch, as well as the firstborn child of the Prince of Wales. None of which applies to Archie, though he will automatically become a Prince when Charles becomes King Max Foster, CNN, Hampshire, England.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Thanks for watching CNN Newsroom, spending part of your day with me I'm Michael Holmes follow me on Twitter and Instagram @holmescnn. I'll see you in about 15 minutes "World Sports" coming your way after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[02:45:00]

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: So the president is slamming a slew of Republican efforts to suppress the vote as sick and un-American. He said that in the same press conference where he said that he would try to work with Republicans. Here to discuss CNN Senior Commentator, and Former Ohio Governor John Kasich, John, thank you so much. So today, I was doing a very important event on race. And someone asked me about you know, the book I wrote is "James Baldwin", right? Attributes to James Baldwin and they said, do you remember Don the talks that James Baldwin and William F. Buckley used to have?

Who is a Republican that you would love to discuss about what's happening in the world today? And I said John Kasich. So John Kasich my William F. Buckley, would this talk, what did you think about the efforts today, when you seeing the woman being locked out? The Governor saw--

JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR COMMENTATOR: It was just there was - but it was stunning to see that woman being locked up. You know, I used to be the Governor. And one of my guys here tonight with me and I said, what we have - what would happen if somebody wanted to come to our press conference?

You know, the last thing we would have done is to lock somebody up. I mean, this - those pictures worth thousand words. And, and that was really terrible. And I do want to do a special call out the Bernice King who you had on the show, she actually - she actually invited me to Martin Luther King celebrations in Atlanta several years ago.

And I went it was one of the highlights of my career Don. What happened to that woman was ridiculous. It was an overreaction. It was terrible. The bills, you know, what they what they're passing is no good, either, particularly the voter ID, because you know, what they tried to pass a voter ID a picture ID here in Ohio.

I said if you pass that I'll veto it. Because there's a lot of folks don't have a lot that don't have that thing. And that isn't right. Have them show some form of identification, but doesn't have to be a picture that apparently is in that along with limiting voting on Sunday, which is also I don't like either that either let people vote.

LEMON: So then what is going on here? I mean, there's a - you're still a Republican, right? You have a - there's some people--

KASICH: Yes, a very good one.

LEMON: So then what? What's going on here? Is this voter suppression?

KASICH: What I think Don, is that would Republicans or those who some people do this, because they're worried about the integrity of the voting? OK. Some feel that way. Others probably believe. And I've actually heard it said in some quarters that, you know, if too many people vote, you know, we can't win.

I have a different view of that going when those voters. Go out and take your message out there to get people to vote for you. It's possible to do that so the idea that we're going to win an election by restricting those people who are going to vote. That's absolutely not the American system.

We ought to make sure that people can vote in my state here in Ohio Don, we've have early voting. We have mail in voting. We have drop box. We have all those things. If the rest of the country did what we're doing in Ohio, we'd be in good shape. So we've done all these things, and we don't have fraud in Ohio.

And so you know, I think these efforts to restrict this are a reaction to the base of the party. And you know, Donald Trump's claims--

LEMON: The lie?

KASICH: --the vote wasn't fair. It's been all debunked, including by Bill Barr, the Former Attorney General, who everybody - said he was, you know, probably sticking up for Trump in this case. He said no fraud.

LEMON: I'm glad you said that. Because when you said some people, you know, voter integrity thrill, but why do they think that there's, you know, they're concerned about it is because they were fed a big lie. But I want to get this in.

You know, I was just talking to Kaitlan, I just want to play this moment when she asked the current president about the 2024 election, watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you believe you'll be running against Former President Trump?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Oh, come on. I don't even think about it. I don't - I have no idea. I have no idea what will be Republican Party. Do you?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Does he have a point? Well, this GOP civil war in the party, as we know it?

KASICH: Well, the party is shrinking Don. And when people are controlled by fear of Donald Trump that means they don't have ideas. And that gets back to how do you win these voters? If we have more and more people vote, particularly minority voters, young voters, you got to have ideas for them.

You got to show then something. And, Don, you know, you were - I've read some of the transcripts or some of the reports about you're being out there, you know now selling this book and you've talked about - you've said how would Jesus look at this stuff?

[02:50:00]

KASICH: Frankly, everybody deserves a right to their potential. Everybody has a right to be able to express them. And when you shut that down, you're violating some of the not just not just the commandments of the Constitution of our country, but I think what the good Lord wants he wants everybody to have a voice and everybody to have an opportunity and it should not be short circuited and of story. LEMON: You know how we sometimes get into fights and you say you don't let me finish? You got to finish every thought tonight. I barely said two words.

KASICH: It makes me nervous.

LEMON: I didn't know. So you're my William F. Buckley to my James Baldwin. There you go. Thank you, John Kasich. I appreciate you appearing and let's continue these conversations. Thanks so much.

KASICH: Thanks, Don Lemon. Thank you very much. Good luck with the book.

LEMON: Thank you so much. Deadly tornadoes in Alabama and across the south wrecking homes killing at least five people, that threat is not over.

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[02:55:00]

LEMON: Well, you got to see this deadly tornadoes violent weather all across the southeast leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. Tornadoes touching down in parts of Alabama look at that destruction there. Search and rescue missions are happening right now. At least five reported dead multiple injuries in Calhoun County.

And in Pelham, Alabama dramatic footage of the storm caught on camera says our Villasenor was riding in a van with his boss when they were caught in heavy wind gusts and rain. Take a look at this.

And now look this is from Nashville a massive wall of rain from a storm they're caught on camera. Look at that. It is incredible. Almost 55,000 customers in the southeast are without power tonight according to poweroutages.us including more than 36,000 in Alabama. A new tornado watch now issued for Central Alabama and parts of Georgia, including Atlanta.

President Biden pushing back on Republican attempts to suppress voting rights in his first news conference. But in Georgia those attempts are already becoming reality.

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